How to create the perfect messy bun for every occasion: A step-by-step guide

Beth | 15 August 2017
youtuber nikki secrets with a messy bun hairstyle

Want to know how to do a messy bun? From beginner-friendly basics to more elaborate occasion-worthy styles, consider this your A-Z guide to achieving the ultimate messy bun!


Perfect for casual days out or lounging around at home, it’s not surprising that the messy bun has become a cult classic in every lazy girl’s hair routine. A beauty vlogger favourite, this timeless style also boasts a host of A-list fans, including Bella Hadid and Karlie Kloss, so you know you’re in good company!

And although this is one of the easiest hairstyles around (seriously, even total hair newbies can master this look!), we’ve picked up a few little hair hacks that make creating the messy bun even simpler.

Just watch our resident beauty vlogger N1kk1sSecr3t show you how to make a messy bun above, or check out our quick and easy step-by-step messy bun tutorial, below.

How to do a messy bun: The basics


Prep with dry shampoo.

Begin by spraying your hair with the Toni&Guy Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo to give your strands something to grip onto.

Then brush through your hair to evenly work in the product and get rid of any knots.


Create a high ponytail.

Then, gather all your hair and secure it into a super high ponytail, right on the top of your head. (It doesn’t matter if it’s not immaculate BTW – it’s not meant to look like you’ve spent hours on it!)

Tip: If you’re finding it tricky to get your ponytail as high as you’d like, try flipping your hair and creating it upside down!


Wrap your hair around.

Now take hold of your ponytail and wrap it around the base to form bun shape.

Pin the hair down with bobby pins, leaving some sections looser than others to create a perfectly-imperfect effect.

Tip: Got layered hair? Then you may find that your shorter strands spray out of your bun. Don’t worry though, as any stray pieces of hair can always be tamed with clips or slicked down with a little hairspray. Besides, this just adds to the lived-in look!


Set it with spray.

Although the undone vibe is essential to the messy bun, we don’t want it to get too much messier throughout the day!

Therefore, the last step in this messy bun tutorial is to set your hair with the VO5 Ultimate Hold Hairspray. It’ll help lock your style in place all day, while also fighting against flyaways and humidity.


Final look.

And it’s as easy as that! Don’t worry if your hair doesn’t look exactly like the photos, as the final result will be slightly different every time. Embrace the individuality!

Tiny Twisst’s low messy bun tutorial

Now that you’ve got the basics down, you might be wondering if there’s anything you can do to smarten up your look for more formal occasions? And the answer to that is…absolutely!


woman with blonde hair with a messy low bun wearing a striped top outside
Try the messy low bun as a chic and elegant alternative.

Lowering the positioning of your messy bun is a great way to keep your hair out of your face for work (or during a workout). Check out #bblogger Tiny Twisst‘s video on how to make a messy bun, above, and try it out for yourself!



How to do a summer party-perfect messy bun


With summer just around the corner, your social calendar is about to get a whole lot busier; with BBQs and garden parties galore. And with just a few tweaks you can easily transform a standard messy bun into something really special. Our favourite way to do this? Curls, of course!

messy bun tutorial: model curling hair her hair with a curling tong
Learn how to make a messy bun your own by adding curls.

Start by sectioning your hair and giving your tresses a good all-over spritz of a heat protectant, like the VO5 Heat Protect Spray.

Then use a wide-barrelled curling wand (we heart the Toni&Guy Glamour Jumbo Tong) to curl pieces of hair around 1-2 inches thick at a time, to create loose waves.

Model shows how to do a messy bun with curls
How to do a messy bun with curls.

Gently twist your hair into a bun using the original messy bun tutorial method above, being careful not to flatten any of the volume from the curls you’ve just created.

Leave a few face-framing strands of hair loose around your hairline for a romantic, dishevelled look, secure in place with bobby pins and you’re ready for action!

How to create a party-perfect twisted messy bun


youtuber nikki phillippi shows us how to make a messy bun and twist hairstyle
How to do a messy bun with vlogger Nikki Phillipi.

If you’re worried about damage and would prefer not to use heat on your hair, you might think that styling options are limited. However, we’re happy to report that’s not the case! Another failsafe way to liven up a classic messy bun, is to work a twisted detail into your bangs.

How to get the look:

1. This style works best on second day, unwashed hair, so if yours is freshly washed, start by spraying your mane with the Toni&Guy Perfect Tease Dry Shampoo. This will make it much easier to form your bun and provide it with extra staying power!

2. Use a tail comb to create a deep side parting on the right side of your head. Then, use your comb again to separate the front section of hair from both sides of your part and clip these pieces out of the way for now.

3. Next, use a small hair brush to tease the large section of hair at the back of your head to amp up the volume.

4. Once you’ve done this, create your bun by gathering your hair into a low ponytail and creating a looped bun.

5. Now it’s time to turn your attention back to those 2 sections of hair you left free earlier. Taking one section at a time, divide the pieces of hair into 2 and twist them together to form a rope braid.

6. Draw the hair back to the crown of your head and wrap it around and underneath your bun. Secure with bobby pins and repeat with the other section of hair.

7. Et voila! Simply finish up with a mist of TRESemmé Get Sleek Creation Hairspray to keep your ‘do looking flawless all night! This style would be ideal for weddings and other formal occasions, and is totally DIY.


Did you find this messy bun tutorial useful? If you did, why not check out our dedicated Updos page? With a variety of chic chignons, elegant bridal ‘dos and low-key weekend styles, there’s plenty of looks for you to play around with!


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